The Dana Nature Reserve is the largest reserve in Jordan spanning across 320 square kilometers. This spectacular national reserve is home to buzzards, eagles and a wide range of Jordanian wildlife which make it ideal for budding photographers and bird watchers.
The reserve is well connected to popular cities and towns in Jordan where visitors can arrange excursions and activities. The hiking trails here offer breathtaking scenery and lead passed charming local villages. The reserve also offers a number of unique experiences including camping beneath the Milky Way in a traditional Bedouin tent – perfect for romantic getaways.
Location of Dana Nature Reserve
The Dana Nature Reserve is located across a number of wadis and mountains which lead from the mountains of the Great Rift Valley down to the vast desert of Wadi Araba, just north of Petra. The Reserve begins at Dana village which is a historic agricultural village that produces its own fruits and olives. The village is a two and a half hour drive from the city of Amman.
History of Dana Nature Reserve
The Dana Village dates back to 4000 BC when it received its very first occupants. It is believed to have been the residence of the Paleolithic, Egyptians, Nabateans, and Romans, due to its close proximity to water. The village is now inhabited by clans whose ancestors have lived there since the Ottoman period. The village is made up of longstanding stone houses which have recently been restored to prevent the residents from eviction.
Things to Do at Dana Nature Reserve
The Dana Nature Reserve contains many rare species of animals, birds, and plants. Due to its large radius, it attracts species from Europe, Africa, and Asia. Within the reserve are 25 endangered species including the Sand Cat and Spiny Tailed Lizard.
The village of Dana is a landmark in its own right. It is a historic village comprised of 70 stone houses, each of which is still lived in. The village also boasts incredibly photogenic views across the Dana Nature Reserve.
The best way to see all that the reserve has to offer is on foot. There are a number of hiking trails across the reserve. The trails can be accomplished with or without a guide and they range in length and difficulty. For those who wish to see the birds that reside here, the Campsite Trail has a number of viewing points across the Dana Mountains. The Cave Trail takes visitors into a group of caves which are thought to have once been used to practice religion in.
Thrill seekers should opt for the Wadi Dathneh Trail which is a 19-kilometer descent across the canyons and rocky terrain of Wadi Dathneh. This route can only be completed with a guide and is for those with a head for heights.
Visitors can take a guided walk through the reserve to the copper mines which have been used for thousands of years. The mines were used by the Romans and visitors can take a journey into the mine shafts and learn how the copper was extracted and used.
Food and Drink
Within the reserve are three restaurants which each serve traditional Jordanian meals and snacks. One restaurant is located at the guesthouse, one is at the campsite and the third can be found at the Feynan Eco-lodge. The food served here is healthy and there are many vegetarian options.
How to Visit Dana Nature Reserve
As most routes at Dana Nature Reserve are only accessible between April and October, visitors should try to avoid visiting in winter. There are a number of accommodation options within the reserve for those who wish to kick back and unwind for a few days. Guests can choose from the Dana Guesthouse, Feynan Ecolodge, or, the Rummana Campsite for a night gazing out towards the stars.
With plenty of hiking, bird watching, and camping, it is easy to spend a number of days at Dana Nature Reserve. Visitors should organize activities and accommodation in advance to avoid disappointment. The reserve is one of the best places to visit in Jordan due to its stunning scenery and range of activities.